With the 18th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Washington Wizards selected 6'9" 230-pound junior forward Chris Singleton of Florida State University. He's not much of a shooter or scorer or ball-handler, but he's one of the top defenders in this draft, capable of holding his own in the paint or moving out on the perimeter. He's the ACC Defensive Player of the Year an capable of covering at least positions on the court. This is a considerable need for the Wizards, who have been one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA for some time.
I like the kid's attitude. When asked how he would celebrate the draft, Singleton replied: "Celebrate? I'm just going to mark off the teams that passed me up."
Here are some opinions about Singleton...
Chad Ford [ESPN]: Not only is he the best defender in the draft, but he also has potential to be a spot-up 3-point shooter.
Chad Ford [ESPN]: The Wizards continue to add size and athleticism with Chris Singleton, the best defender in the draft. Period. He's strong and physical and he can guard three or four positions. The Wizards are adding athletes and toughness to this team -- I really like their draft.
Fox Sports: The Wizards were among the worst defensive teams in the league last season. Singleton should help fix that right away. Singleton was the last man standing in the green room, meaning he was a huge steal at this point in the draft. At 6-9, he can defend anyone from shooting guards to power forwards. He's not a very good shooter, and will never be the type of player who creates his own offense, but he can defend with the best of them. Think Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. He'll bring much-needed toughness to the Wizards and complement Jan Vesely nicely.
Singleton looked good at ATTACK. Defensively, he was pretty dominant in the 3-on-3 action I saw. His lateral movement and explosiveness really make him a nightmare defensively.
He was shooting the ball well and showed NBA range on his jumper. This year he dramatically improved his 3-point shooting numbers from 30 percent to 37 percent, but still can be maddeningly inconsistent. While he shot it very well in workouts here, consistency continues to be an issue.
"I think, down the road, he has a chance to be a player that shoots in the 38 to 40 percent range from 3," said ATTACK Athletics' Mike Procopio. "But it may take a year or two for him to get there. But he has all the tools, he's very coachable and he's a very hard worker."
A number of NBA teams believe he could be a bigger version of Ron Artest at the next level. A few others made comparisons to the Hawks' Josh Smith. However, Singleton doesn't have any of the attitude issues that those players have.
NBA Draft.net: Strengths: A small forward with terrific size and length for the position … He is an explosive leaper and has next level athleticism … A very good player in transition, he runs the floor extremely hard and is able to finish plays above the rim in open lane situations … His upper body is well built, and he has the strength to move defenders on drives to the basket … Has developed into a formidable catch and shoot threat … With his feet set he can shoot the ball with range and fairly consistently knock down jumpers from deep … Shows the ability to make shots from the NBA three point line … His biggest impact is on the defensive end, where his size, length, athleticism and terrific instincts make him a lockdown defender … He possesses all the tools to be able to translate his defense to the NBA level … Can guard multiple positions … His ability to anticipate and jump into passing lanes combined with shotblocking, make him a very rare threat on the defensive side of the ball … He is a blue-collar player and is capable of impacting the game without needing the ball in his hands or getting plays called for him … A solid rebounder, he is especially good on the O glass, where he uses his length and athleticism to get to rebounds …
Weaknesses: Not a natural wing player, he is not very smooth with the ball and does not have the ballhandling skills which would allow him to create his shot with consistency … Not a great scorer, lacks the feel and touch around the basket and depends too much on his physical prowess to get him thorough situations… Has the size and length to score with his back to the basket, but his poor footwork and bodycontrol make it hard for him to get good shots off inside … Still a very streaky shooter, especially on the move or off the dribble … He tends to shoot without squaring his body, his stroke is not the most natural, and his release comes too far off his head … His legs are fairly skinny but he is top heavy, which makes his movements awkward but it also gives him poor balance … Improved on his free throw percentage, but it’s still not where it needs to be …
Earlier this evening the Wizards selected QF Jan Vesely, a 21-year-old big man from the Czech Republic. READ THIS FOR MORE ABOUT JAN VESELY.